Spymaster row weakens Merkel, support for conservative bloc slumps to new low – poll

Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has slumped to a new low, a poll showed on Friday. The ARD DeutschlandTrend survey put support for the alliance at 28 percent, down one point from September 6 and at a record low. The conservative sister parties and their Social Democrat junior coalition partners recently agreed to oust the head of the BfV domestic agency over accusations that he harbored sympathies to the far-right. Hans-Georg Maassen was given a deputy minister position at the Interior Ministry. The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which said his removal would threaten national security, gained two points in the survey, conducted by pollster Infratest Dimap, to a record high of 18 percent. The far-right AfD would be the second-biggest party if an election were held right away, Reuters reports. The SPD fell to 17 percent. A separate survey from INSA showed that almost half of Germans were in favor of a new election, reflecting discontent with the handling of the Maassen affair. Almost a third were against a new vote. Infratest Dimap polled 1,035 voters across Germany from Monday to Wednesday of this week.